Late Sunday, off the coast of Cyprus, a team of U.S. Navy SEALs captured the hijacked oil tanker Morning Glory from Libyan rebels. "No one was hurt tonight when U.S. forces, at the request of both the Libyan and Cypriot governments, boarded and took control of the commercial tanker Morning Glory, a stateless vessel seized earlier this month by three armed Libyans," said Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby. President Obama authorized the raid just after 10 p.m. on Sunday.
U.S. forces will escort the ship back to a port controlled by Libya's central government, which is fighting various factions for possession of the country's vast oil reserves.
The story of the Morning Glory is complicated and slightly madcap, but with serious implications for Libya and Europe, which gets oil from the country via a pipeline to Italy. On March 1, the North Korea-flagged ship turned off its satellite transponder and a week later turned up in the eastern Libyan port of Es Sider, which is controlled by a rebel militia that is trying to sell oil from the region for its own profit. On March 10, the tanker left port carrying 234,000 barrels of oil.
If breakaway regions are allowed to sell oil on their own, the Libyan government will quickly go bankrupt. Prime Minister Ali Zeidan ordered the Morning Glory stopped, even if it meant sinking the vessel. With Libya's navy essentially nonexistent and its air force embroiled in its own infighting, the militia Zeidan sent out to stop the tanker failed. Parliament then sacked Zeidan, who subsequently fled to Germany. On March 13, North Korea revoked the Morning Glory's registration, making it a stateless vessel.
Contraband oil is harder to sell than you might think. Libya could still descend into civil war, as various militias battle for resources and influence. But now at least the rebels in the oil-rich east know the risks of trying to use a heavily watched and coveted international commodity as a weapon. Peter Weber
After being denied 28 times, Manson Family member Bruce Davis was found eligible for parole on Thursday, California state corrections officials said.
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) August 27, 2015
The 72-year-old was convicted in 1972 of the murders of aspiring musician Gary Hinman and Donald "Shorty" Shea, a stuntman who worked at a ranch where Charles Manson and his followers once lived. Hinman's body was found at Davis' home, alongside the words "political piggy" written in blood on the wall, the Los Angeles Times reports. Davis said he had nothing to do with the Manson Family's infamous 1969 murders of Sharon Tate and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.
The finding is now under a 120-day review, and Gov. Jerry Brown (D) could block Davis' release. He has been found eligible for parole previously, but all were reversed by the governors at the time, with Brown saying in 2014 that Davis is "still dodging responsibility" for his role in the murders. During his 40 years in prison, Davis has earned his doctoral degree in religion, married, and fathered a child. Catherine Garcia
Univision anchor Jorge Ramos is calling on his fellow reporters to start asking Donald Trump tougher questions, especially concerning his immigration policy.
"He hasn't been challenged enough," Ramos told Time. "He hates to be challenged and it is time that we start doing it." Ramos had a run-in with the GOP presidential frontrunner Tuesday in Iowa, when he asked him a question about immigration and deportation. Trump told Ramos he hadn't called on him and he needed to sit down, and added, "Go back to Univision." Ramos was escorted out of the room by security, and although he returned a few minutes later, his question went unanswered. Ramos said he's particularly bothered by the fact that Trump had not explained how he will implement deportations or the building of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. When Time asked Trump how he would deport undocumented immigrants, he replied, "It's called management."
Ramos said that response isn't helpful. "If he wants to do it in the short term, he would need to use the army, use stadiums, public places," he said. "The only way to do that would be to use trains and buses and airports to deport millions of people. It's in a scale never seen before in the world. And it is incredibly dangerous." Ramos, who reaches an audience of 2 million viewers nightly, hopes Trump will agree to an interview soon. "If it happens, it will be an uncomfortable interview for him for sure," Ramos said. "He can't and he should not get away with empty promises. At stake is the future of this country." Catherine Garcia
In a 3-2 ruling split down party lines, the National Labor Relations Board revised its "joint employer" standard, which could have huge ramifications for franchise businesses like McDonald's.
The board decided that the waste management company Browning Ferris Industries is a joint employer alongside one of its subcontractors, the staffing firm Leadpoint Business Services. The Teamsters wanted Browning Ferris to be named a joint employer so they would have to join Leadpoint at the bargaining table.
The ruling makes it difficult for a company like McDonald's to stay one step removed from the workers employed at its franchises. About 90 percent of the fast food chain's locations are run by franchisees, and they are considered the employers of their workers, not McDonald's, The Huffington Post reports. Under these new loosened standards, McDonald's could end up having to bargain with workers employed by a franchisee.
The Democratic members of the board wrote in their decision that it is "not the goal of joint-employer law to guarantee the freedom of employers to insulate themselves from their legal responsibility to workers, while maintaining control of the workplace. Such an approach has no basis in the [National Labor Relations} Act or in federal labor policy." Labor unions say it only makes sense for a parent company to be legally responsible for employees who represent their company, even if they don't necessarily sign their paychecks. Franchisers argue it will give the parent company too much control over their business. Catherine Garcia
President Obama traveled to New Orleans on Thursday to mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which struck the city on Aug. 29, 2005. The president spoke before a crowd at a community center in the city's Lower Ninth Ward, which was decimated by the storm. "The world watched in horror," Obama said. "The music in the air suddenly was dark and silent."
Obama called Hurricane Katrina an example of what happens "when government fails," but praised the city's recovery as an "example of what's possible when governments [at every level] work together." He specifically noted areas in which New Orleans emerged from Hurricane Katrina stronger than before the storm, citing improved education statistics and new, advanced environmental infrastructure. "The project of rebuilding here wasn't just to restore the city as it had been — it was to build the city as it should be," Obama said.
He also congratulated New Orleans for being the first major city to end veteran homelessness, and credited the city with being the inspiration for a number of national accomplishments, such as improved jobs numbers, the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the legalization of gay marriage. The president did note that the city still has weaknesses, like the racial income gap and child poverty, but said working toward such advancements should be a collaborative effort. "For all of our differences, in the end, what matters is we're all in the same boat," he said. "We'll leave behind a city — and a nation — that's worthy of generations to come. That's what you've gotten started. Now we've got to finish the job." Kimberly Alters
Darryl Dawkins, an NBA legend famous for breaking backboards with his powerful dunks, has passed away at age 58. The news was confirmed to local Pennsylvania station WFMZ-TV by the Lehigh County Coroner's Office in Pennsylvania. No cause of death has been reported.
Nicknamed "Chocolate Thunder," Dawkins was drafted fifth overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1975 and played seven seasons (including three NBA Finals appearances) with the Sixers before being traded to the New Jersey Nets. During the 1979 season, Dawkins famously shattered a backboard on two separate occasions thanks to a powerful dunk:
He nicknamed the first of the two glass-shattering slams the "Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Teeth-Shaking, Glass-Breaking, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Wham-Bam, Glass-Breaker-I-Am-Jam." He retired from the NBA for good in 1989, but continued playing overseas and even spent a year with the showy Harlem Globetrotters. But in the end, as Mike Chiari notes at Bleacher Report, Dawkins was perhaps best known for his "larger-than-life personality." Kimberly Alters
On Thursday, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton slammed the 2016 Republican candidates for their "out-of-date and out-of-touch policies" on women's health issues, even going so far as to compare some Republicans to "terrorist groups."
"Extreme views about women? We expect that from some of the terrorist groups. We expect that from people who don't want to live in the modern world," Clinton said at a campaign stop in Ohio. "But it's a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States."
Clinton's comments earned her an immediate rebuke from the right.
.@HillaryClinton compares pro-life Americans to terrorists, but defends despicable PP treatment of unborn? Her priorities are totally wrong
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) August 27, 2015
The national press secretary for the Republican National Committee (RNC) also reproached Clinton for her "inflammatory rhetoric," saying, "For Hillary Clinton to equate her political opponents to terrorists is a new low for her flailing campaign." Becca Stanek
Donald Trump's latest comments earned him a rebuke from a Jeb Bush spokesman for "trafficking in false conspiracy theories" about the former investment bank Lehman Brothers, where Bush worked for a stint after leaving the governor's office in Florida in 2007. Amid Trump's 33 attacks against the Bush family in a 35-minute interview with The Washington Post, he managed numerous times to drop his suspicions that Bush's high salary from Lehman was a "reward for helping direct Florida state funds to the firm, whose collapse in 2008 helped kick off the Great Recession," The Post reports.
"That’s a Hillary Clinton kind of situation," Trump said. "This is huge. Let me ask you: Why would you pay a man $1.3 million a year for a no-show job at Lehman Brothers — which, when it failed, almost took the world with it?" Trump then went on to offer Lehman's crash as evidence that Bush lacks business savvy. When asked whether he thought Bush could "steer the economy," Trump responded: "Steer it? He can't steer himself. Look what he did with Lehman." Trump surmised that the state of Florida "lost a lot of money after Lehman went bad, thanks to Jeb Bush."
In response, Bush spokesman Tim Miller pointed out Trump's attendance at "New York liberal cocktail parties" and his "trashing of conservatives and Republican presidents any chance he got." Miller wrote in an email to the Post, "The only 'Hillary Clinton situation’ is Trump thinking she'd be a good negotiator with Iran and supporting her campaigns." Becca Stanek